The Reuters global sports blog
from Mark Meadows:
Annoyingly for Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, the supposed plot line of El Clasico on Saturday did not follow the script. The much-anticipated power shift from Catalunya to Madrid did not take place and his team are back to the drawing board as far as playing against Barcelona is concerned.
Mourinho blamed bad luck for the loss, as you would expect, but a lot of the press have zoomed in on Real's psychological barrier when it comes to facing Barca.
These things are always difficult to quantify but the awe-inspiring Real team that crushed everyone so far in 2011 simply crumbled when Barcelona reversed a one goal-deficit and went 2-1 up.
Even Mourinho conceded the third Barca goal was a 'psychological blow', though I would argue it was the second goal that mentally defeated them.
from Reuters Soccer Blog:
It is all because UEFA believes head-to-heads rather than goal difference in all group games should be the first deciding factor.
By Greg Rusedski
The Davis Cup final between Spain and Argentina was always going to be a great tie. The atmosphere was electric due to the huge Argentinian contingent in Seville who were present to support their team. Both the Spanish and Argentinian fans got into the tie and with 26,000 plus spectators the atmosphere was more like a football match.
The tie all depended on how well Juan Martin Del Potro played on the opening day. The feeling was that he had to win his opening match on day one for Argentina to have a chance to win the tie. No one was going to beat Rafa on clay, and the only player to have done so all year was Djokovic. The other problem for Del Potro was that Nadal and David Ferrer were 25 and 0 on clay in Davis Cup. Yes, Nadal and Ferrer were a little tired after the ATP World Tour Finals but playing on clay at home was a huge advantage. Nadal looked physically strong at the ATP World Tour Finals but was unlucky to have picked up a stomach bug and never recovered properly for the event. This was bad news for the Argentinians because he was going to take out his frustration on the clay courts of Seville.
We got our season back pointed in the right direction with a 4-2 Week 12 but now the always-interesting Week 13. The Lineman has had some bad luck this season but expecting only good things this Sunday and a first 6-0 of the season.
Record: 37-35. Last week 4-2; Pick of the Week: 10-2
PICK OF THE WEEK
San Diego Chargers (4-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars (3-8) (Line Chargers minus-2.5)
The Chargers have zapped me so many times this season I am starting to feel like a Tazer test dummy.
Kimi Raikkonen’s return to Formula One after a two-year hiatus has enthused media, fans and rivals alike. But the question remains — does the Iceman’s comeback mean a cooling of double world champion Sebastian Vettel’s hopes of being red-hot favourite again next year?
Almost certainly not. Raikkonen’s return is certainly a good thing for Formula One. For the first time ever, the sport will see six world champions line up on the starting grid.
By Greg Rusedski
There was a lot going on in the press at The ATP World Tour Finals before the event started. The press asked Roger Federer who was the favorite for the event. The press had implied that Andy Murray was the favorite because of the three tournaments he had won in Asia. Federer answered this question by saying that neither he nor Novak Djokovic had played in Asia so how could he be the favorite? Federer came into this event having won the last two tournaments of the year, this event on five different occasions and also as the defending champion. This set up the tournament in a great way because the only way to settle this discussion would be on the court.
The two groups were Group A; Djokovic, Murray, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych and Group B; Federer, Rafael Nadal, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Mardy Fish. Group B was the more interesting and stronger group.
Not bad last week as the Lineman continued to undo some of the damage done by fill in Wichita Lineman in Week 10.
So keeping with the Thanksgiving theme, no turkeys among this week’s picks.
from Reuters Soccer Blog:
Three Premier League defeats in four games and Champions League last 16 qualification compromised. The last few weeks have been very tough for Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas.
Previous managers Jose Mourinho, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Avram Grant and Carlo Ancelotti were dismissed seemingly for less by ruthless owner Roman Abramovich.
from Photographers' Blog:
By Jason Reed, Larry Downing and Molly Riley
Hey football fans… imagine walking past the solid steel doors guarding the locker room outside one of the National Football League’s most treasured teams and standing inside watching 60 professional athletes preparing to take the spotlight in front of 70,000 expecting Baltimore fans.
Talk about fantasy football coming true; that ultimate “back stage pass” was given to Reuters’ photographers Jason Reed, Larry Downing and Molly Riley from the Baltimore Ravens as an early Christmas present last December, extending them complete photographic access of their cheerleaders during the production of an in-depth multimedia project by Reuters entitled, “Ravens Rule the Skies.”